Monday, September 14, 2009

I'm glad I didn't listen much to good advice. If I listened to it I might not have made some of my most valuable mistakes.


I ran across the above quote the other day when I pulled up a list of funky quotes I catalogue. It resonated, so I'm elaborating.

My mom, who is no longer with us, once told me, "oh, don’t ever tell me you are going scuba diving." Of course, this was immediately after I told her I had signed up for scuba lessons with some of my buddies when we were about 15 years old. She knew it was vacant advise, but it was usually right after telling her something scary I was going to do that she offered her "good advice". Not that scuba diving was a mistake either, it was a great discovery for a trouble making rabble rouser like me.

Fear ruled my mother’s life, however, so she always gave her "don’t ever do that" speech when I mentioned anything that sounded scary or dangerous. It was more for her benefit than mine, I’m sure. Sometimes it was even good advice, like the time she told me not use my little sister as a test pilot for the deadly steep tubing run we fabricated on the steepest snow covered hill me and my buddies could find.

We sent Sis hurtling down the hill anyway. She broke her nose and ended up with two black eyes, a lovely situation for her grade school class picture two days later. But still I’m glad I ignored that good advice because it woke me up and I learned something from it. The lesson likely prevented me from inadvertently killing my little sister at some point down the line.

Einstein ignored lots of good advice and as a result made mistakes that lead to monumental discoveries and contributions to science that immortalized him. Not shabby company for us advice ignorers.

My wife works for a group of doctors. When they heard that I was a skydiver some of them warned her to never take such a foolish risk, which was perhaps good advice in their eyes, but it was only a reason for defiance in hers. Still, she was not very interested in throwing herself out of an airplane (and contrary to the common question I always get, there is no perfectly good airplane, so don’t ask that question, puleeease). It wasn’t until one of the doctors told her, "you can’t ever skydive because your neck won’t take the shock" that she decided to totally ignore his advice. She does have some bad disks in her neck, but this good advice sounded too much like an order so she said, "fuck that".

A week or so later she made her first tandem jump in Moab, then promptly signed up to go through training to become a skydiver. Shocked the hell out of me but I was glad to have her join me in the sky. It may have been good advice, but if it was a mistake she has never regretted it.


  1. I've often contemplated skydiving. Wow, what an uncredible feeling it must be. I'm not overly afraid of heights, and when in a plane looking down the ground doesn't look real, so what the heck, maybe someday. Our eldest daughter use to skydive, then one day she called her day from the airport (on a trip to Boston) in a bit of a panic because it would be the first plane she had to actually stay in until it landed.

  2. Interesting post and I'm still not going up there LOL

    I wrote a post on my mom today and I then read your post here. Weird how we both ruminated on our mothers but in different ways....great post, 'Dreamer'. ;)